Nothing beats the warm comfort of a bowl of Bangers and Mash, especially if the potatoes are mashed with lashings of brown butter and apple cider onion gravy is ladled liberally on top then all served with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths.
This Saturday is bonfire night, although since I have the market stall this weekend and will be baking all Saturday, we are delaying our celebrations until next week and joining my in-laws for the firework display in Ely over the cathedral. It will be Cole’s first bonfire night and I think he is going to love it. Or be scared senseless by the cracking bangs and terrifying shower of fire, forever scarred by the experience which will lead to nightmares and nervous tics, meaning we’ll all be in therapy when he reaches his teens. I’m gunning for the former.
It is absolutely obligatory to have sausages on bonfire night, I guess traditionally the sausages were roasted on the fire. I remember being bundled up in winter woollies clutching at my sausage in a bun, enamoured by the glittering hiss of the guy sizzling on the bonfire. Seeing a bonfire at firework displays, especially in London, is a rarity due to health and safety, hopefully Ely won’t let us down. Sausages though are definitely a must, oh and a cup of hot apple cider. We need to keep warm in the frosty November air.
This recipe is the best of those two traditions. The sausages are simply roasted but the mash is made infinitely more superior by using brown butter which was a tip I garnered from Half Baked Harvest and I’m now going to implement every time I mash a potato. The taste is amazing.
The apple cider gravy is the only part of the meal where you might have to pay a bit of attention if you are not well versed in gravies. Gravy might have been the very first thing I learnt to cook as it was so vital to our Sunday roasts growing up. The consistency of your gravy probably depends on what part of the country you grew up in, the further north you get the thicker it is. I’ve had gravies you can pretty much stand a spoon up in and my Nan was from Liverpool so hers took some beating. I always err on her side for my Bangers and Mash, this is not a time for sophistication. The only advice I would adhere to here is to use proper dripping and meat stock. Although you could substitute with butter and vegetable stock (never a stock cube – please!!) the difference is immeasurable. Sorry veggies and vegans.
I always have dripping in the fridge, again my Nan was from Liverpool, and we would think nothing of dripping on toast as a teatime snack. I cook a Sunday roast every weekend and after the meal has been done, before the washing up has been started I scoop out all the meat dripping from the roasting tin and store it in a jar in the fridge. Then we (this is usually Luke’s job) place the meat bones, along with some veg and lots of water, in our stock pot so the stock simmers away nicely on the Sunday evening. That way, we always have the makings of gravy on hand for any Bangers and Mash emergencies.
The final piece of the puzzle is the caramelised apples, they take moments so are worth the extra five minutes. They are cooked quickly with butter and sugar to retain a bit of bite then sweetened with a pinch of cinnamon.
I can’t wait to share fireworks night with Cole, I have a bank of lovely memories of this time of year and hope he’ll have just as many. Although regardless of the fireworks, I know he’ll go crazy for the Bangers and Mash.